Alternative medicine must be regulated


Al-Jazirah newspaper

We receive an avalanche of medical information on our mobile phones through social media. Some of this information is false and is only for marketing purposes. This information can be misleading to the general public and lead to harmful effects.

The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) currently monitors four areas: food, medications, medical equipment and cosmetics. I believe the SFDA should also focus on alternative medicine such as Chinese, herbal and traditional Islamic medicine (referred to as Prophetic Medicine). The number of people who pretend to be well-versed in traditional Islamic medicine has recently increased. You see them on every corner claiming that they can cure the uncured using Prophetic Medicine.

Unfortunately, the majority of these people do not have medical licenses, let alone medical qualifications. Sometimes you will see them wandering inside hospitals looking for patients who are frustrated or who suffer from incurable diseases.

I suggest that the SFDA regulate the work of those who claim to be well-versed in traditional Islamic medicine. They should also be trained in medical and hygiene practices. Medical colleges should consider teaching Prophetic Medicine and offering diplomas to interested students.

The Ministry of Health issues licenses to alternative medicine centers. In fact, an increasing number of people are attracted to these centers because of the types of medication and costs. However, the ministry should crack down on pretenders who dupe people out of their money and sometimes blackmail them without providing them with treatment.

The SFDA should also work with the ministry to monitor the work of these centers and protect citizens and expatriate workers from any form of blackmailing or deception.